Lee Seung-yeop takes pay cut to play for Orix

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Lee Seung-yeop takes pay cut to play for Orix

First baseman Lee Seung-yeop took a huge pay cut to come to terms on a one year deal with the Orix Buffaloes of the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan.

According to a report from the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun, the 34-year-old first baseman reached a one year deal worth 150 million yen ($1.7 million) with incentives. The deal is significantly lower than the 600 million yen he earned with the Giants last season.

The Orix Buffaloes are expected to make a formal announcement of the signing sometime this week. According to the Asahi report, Orix signed Lee to add some power to its batting order after failing to re-sign Alex Cabrera. Cabrera has 346 career home runs in the NPB.

Lee was released at the end of the 2010 season after struggling with the Yomiuri Giants.

Early reports from Nikkan Sports and other media outlets speculated that Lee would sign a deal worth about 80 million yen with Orix.

Lee played in 56 games for the Giants, batting only .163 with five home runs and 11 RBI. Despite his poor numbers, Orix hopes Lee is capable of hitting at least 20 home runs if given a secure starting role with the club.

The situation is seen as ideal for an aging slugger like Lee, especially considering Orix plays in the Pacific League of the NPB, which allows designated hitters.

The Orix Buffaloes finished the 2010 season fifth in the six-team Pacific League with the record of 69 wins, 71 losses and four ties.


By Seo Ji-young, Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]

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